Permanent URI for this collectionhttps://hdl.handle.net/1969.6/1139


Recent Submissions

Now showing 1 - 20 of 410
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    Microbial dynamics of a hypersaline creek: Community response to disturbance and connectivity to wildlife
    (2023-12) Bachand, Paxton Turner; Turner, Jeffrey W.; Labonte, Jessica M.; Sterba-Boatwright, Blair; Walther, Benjamin D.
    Estuarine ecosystems can experience extended periods of salinity and temperature stress. In the South Texas region of the northwest Gulf of Mexico (GoM), climate models and current trends support increased temperatures, prolonged droughts, and increased storm severity. It is therefore imperative to assess how climate stress will impact South Texas estuarine ecosystems. Coastal lagoons are particularly vulnerable to disturbance, and the hypersaline Baffin Bay and Upper Laguna Madre Complex is a ‘hotspot’ of environmental change. In this dissertation, factors contributing to hypersaline microbial community dynamics in a hypersaline creek were assessed in three stand-alone research projects: 1) a short-term 2-month study of microbial community dynamics following a flood event, 2) a long-term 18-month study of microbial community dynamics that included flood and freeze events, and 3) a targeted study of wildlife connectivity (Mexican free-tailed bats) to microbial community dynamics and eutrophication. The short-term study revealed that flood events are disturbance events that cause pronounced shifts in microbial community structure. The long-term study revealed the hypersaline community was resilient to flood and freeze events. Additionally, whole genome sequencing of halophilic bacteria uncovered mechanisms of osmoregulation and heavy metal resistance. The targeted study revealed that bat guano is a source of dissolved organic carbon and potentially pathogenic bacteria. Severe heat coupled with severe flooding is anticipated to alter salinity regimes, increase osmotic stress, adversely impact ecosystem stability, and potentially restructure natural communities between drought and flood events. Climate stress will also affect the quality of riparian buffers and the wildlife inhabiting those buffers. A better understanding of microbial drought and flood resilience is critical to predicting how hypersaline coastal ecosystems will adapt and evolve under future climate scenarios.
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    Digital divide in ICT literacy among teachers in South Texas school districts
    (2023-12) Bannerjee, Pragati; Benedetti, Christopher; Cervantes, Bernadine; Elliff, D. Scott; Xie, Feiqin
    The use of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) has profoundly impacted and transformed how schools operate, teach, and learn. Those without access to new technologies are cut off from the huge dividends that ICT provides, commonly referred to as the digital divide. The digital divide is a complex and layered phenomenon, which extends beyond issues of physical access. Digital learning tools are inaccessible and underutilized by students from low-income families in South Texas and beyond. The digital literacy skills of teachers play a key role in preparing students, particularly those without sufficient access to ICT, for meaningful participation in complex digital spaces. The purpose of this quantitative, non-experimental, predictive study was to examine the digital disparity at the second level among public school K-12 teachers in South Texas by evaluating their instructional ICT literacy based on their foundational internet skills and usage types. Using van Dijk’s causal and sequential model of access to ICT (2005) as the basis, this study focused on analyzing the digital divide among teachers along the lines of school socioeconomic status. This analysis was based on teachers' ICT access (motivational, physical, skills, and usage) and digital skills (namely operational, informational, and strategic). The research adds to the existing literature on the digital divide as well as strengthening the positional category from van Dijk's model in the field of education. The study employed two survey questionnaires—the 14-item Teachers' Literacy and Skills acquired in ICT (used to measure digital literacy skills) and the 19-item Internet Usage Types (used to measure internet skills and usage types). A multiple linear regression was performed to identify if internet usage and school socioeconomic status predicted teachers' instructional digital literacy. The results of this study contribute to a better understanding of teachers' digital self-efficacy, perceived computer skills, and perceived instructional technology literacy skills in ICT, particularly for those teaching in economically disadvantaged schools. The findings from the study will help South Texas school districts and campus leaders in planning for ICT integration, staff training, and support for school technology infrastructure.
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    Perceptions of principals regarding their principal preparation program
    (2023-12) Covarrubias, Amanda Marie; Benedetti, Christopher; Cervantes, Bernadine; Elliff, Doyne Scott; Garza, Susan
    This dissertation examines the perceptions of Texas principals regarding how adequately they felt their preparation program trained them for the principalship. Across the U.S., variations in curricula and preparation exist in principal preparation programs. Varied preparation result in leaders who are not prepared to face the demanding challenges of the principalship. This quantitative study used the perceptions of principals who have gone through these preparation programs to analyze this problem. This study found a lack of variation in preparation and an overall high level of perceptions of adequate preparation in all eight NELP Standards. Preparation programs should continue in their current methods of aligning their curricula to best practices and following national standards.
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    Teacher stress, hope, and agency for the future - A narrative inquiry
    (2023-12) Fowler, Margaret Sumner; Hemmer, Lynn; Elliff, D. Scott; Cervantes, Bernadine; Xu, Wei
    Teacher stress has long been a prevalent concern and research topic and was recently compounded by the COVID-19 pandemic. While the COVID-19 pandemic has attracted considerable scholarly interest, few researchers have sought to understand the actual experiences of teachers framed by the teacher’s well-being and hopefulness. The purpose of this study was to develop an understanding of how teachers who taught during the COVID-19 pandemic narrate their experiences of hope and well-being. More specifically, the research aimed to explore how hope is reflected in three individuals’ stories from a challenging time, framed by the COVID-19 pandemic, in their professional teaching careers. This narrative inquiry provided three PK-12 teachers an avenue in which they could explore and reflect on their personal and professional lives while teaching during the COVID-19 pandemic. Additionally, these teachers were able to construct and visualize their goals, pathways, and agency for the future using a vision board. This study showcased how they activated hope during a highly stressful critical event in their profession and how it related to their well-being. The findings of this study were represented in a narrative form using a genre known as Bildungsroman. The Bildungsroman were used to highlight the evolution of the teachers during the COVID-19 pandemic, focusing on the teacher’s reflection of how they used hope to overcome obstacles to achieve their goals and their overall well-being through the pandemic. The intended audience for this research is educational leaders and mental health professionals working in the educational setting.
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    Exploring the phenomenon of independence described by students with autism attending community college
    (2023-12) Klare, Judy Lynn; Hemmer, Lynn; Robertson, Phyllis; Cervantes, Bernadine; Fitzsimmons-Doolan, Shannon
    The purpose of this study was to seek to understand and describe the lived experiences of college students identified as having autism transitioning to adult status and the meaning they made of becoming independent. The essence of the shared expressed experience was sought for a new understanding of what it is like for students with autism as they move into adulthood. Information gained from this study into the phenomenon of independence for this population of student will provide an understanding of identity components raised such as understanding of self/needs, self-advocacy, and considerations of issues surrounding disclosure or non-disclosure of the disability of autism. A qualitative, phenomenological method was utilized to study the expressed experience (Smith et al., 2009, 2022) in an effort to explore how the participants themselves understood and made sense of the phenomenon of independence. Key findings from this study included an emergence of five over-arching Group Experiential Themes (in no specific order of importance) including Self-Consciousness over Being Perceived Inadequate, Self-Determination with Individual Strategies to Drive Academic Success, the Lived Experience was an Emotional Journey, Identity Development through an Awareness and Acceptance of Self, and a Sense of Belonging in the Community College Setting. The significance of this study lies in gaining the voice of a select group of students with autism experiencing independence in the community college setting, during a period of emerging adulthood (Arnett, 2007; Cribb et al., 2019).
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    The influence of representation in school bond elections
    (2023-12) Lawing, Thomas D.; Benedetti, Christopher; Banda, Rosa; Elliff, Doyne; Doolan, Stephen
    A significant problem in Texas education is that many school districts need adequate educational facilities. The age and condition of the educational facilities affect student achievement. Bond referenda are generally the sole source for facility financing, thus making the passage of school bonds critical. The purpose of this study was to examine community factors associated with the passing or failing of a school district finance bond. This study investigated the influence of representative bureaucracy on voting patterns in school bond elections. Prior research has examined the effect of representative bureaucracy on public policy and administration, but little research has been conducted on its effect on school bond elections. The community factors considered in this research are property wealth, district size, community type, superintendent sex, and racial representation in the administration. This study employed a nonexperimental, retrospective, predictive design to analyze the variables quantitatively. Two binomial logistic regressions were run. The first determined whether the Texas Education Agency–reported demographic factors influenced bond election outcomes. The second was conducted to gauge the influence of representation on bond election outcomes. Although research supported the inclusion of each selected variable, the models proved insignificant. The study’s findings support the idea that bond passage rates cannot be attributable simply to community-specific characteristics. Instead, they emphasize the subtle and multifaceted nature of the bond election process, underlining that a complex interaction of components beyond the immediate demographics and dynamics of the community determines success or failure. The study’s findings demonstrate that successful school bond projects necessitate a more complete and strategic approach that goes beyond only community factors.
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    Exploring instructional leadership practices of assistant principals in South Texas region one school districts: A case study
    (2023-12) Lerma, Veronica Yvette; Zeng, Guang; Banda, Rosa M.; Elliff, D. Scott; Palaniappan, Devanayagam
    This qualitative case study explored assistant principals' practices in instructional leadership. This study was conducted in two small school districts in the South Texas Region 1 area. Research questions included (a) What instructional leadership behaviors are assistant principals in Region 1 engaged in? (b) What support is needed for assistant principals in Region 1 as instructional leaders? (c) What relationship between the principal and assistant principal fosters the instructional leadership practices of the assistant principal in Region 1? The conceptual framework for instructional leadership, based on the Hallinger Model of Instructional Leadership (1985), served as the guide for this study. To triangulate data sources, demographic profiles, interviews, and document analysis were used. The study's findings indicated that assistant principals exhibit a range of instructional leadership behaviors consistent with the conceptual framework of instructional leadership. The data analysis revealed the following three main themes: (a) communication and collaboration skills are vital to the AP role, (b) challenges of being an assistant principal, (c) seeking multiple forms of support. The results of this study add to the body of knowledge on assistant principals by examining the instructional leadership practices used by assistant principals, identifying challenges they face as instructional leaders, and providing recommendations to support the leadership development of assistant principals in the South Texas Region 1 school districts.
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    Developing comparative indices, valuation of nitrogen bioextraction ecosystem services, and scenario modeling to support decision-making in the Texas oyster mariculture industry
    (2023-12) Lima, Anthony Rocha; Pollack, Jennifer; Fox, Joe; Bricker, Suzanne; Yoskowitz, David; Elwood, Susan
    This dissertation aims to develop information that supports decision-making surrounding oyster aquaculture in Texas. Each chapter presents a different product, valuation, or modeling approach that addresses concerns or management of oyster aquaculture. The first research chapter developed a four-part index composed of production, policy, and economic attributes related to oyster aquaculture in the U.S. Data used in this index was derived from two studies comparing GIS tools and policy attributes of American aquaculture, and two more sections using both qualitative and quantitative data were developed as part of this study. The results of this index found that the U.S. Mid-Atlantic and New England regions have the greatest number of resource and policy attributes to facilitate and support oyster aquaculture. Among policy attributes, Texas differed from other U.S. states as lease transferability and applicant guides are not found in the state. Additionally, publicly available GIS map viewers, which are currently in development, can assist in decision-making. The second research chapter in this dissertation focused on nitrogen bioextraction as an ecosystem service provided by cultivated oysters. First, eutrophication screening was performed using the Assessment of Estuarine Trophic Status (ASSETS) model, with results indicating that Copano Bay is a candidate for eutrophication treatment based upon high levels of expression of influencing factors. Nitrogen estimates were found using Farm Aquaculture Resource Modeling (FARM), with a representative 7-acre farm capable of removing around 4,400 -6,500 lbs. of nitrogen from the water through assimilation into tissue and shell, based upon different environmental extremes in Copano Bay. A valuation model using five wastewater treatment plant (WWTPs) with two cost estimates were used to derive a monetary range of nitrogen bioextraction. The potential monetary range in value from $37,532 to $212,887 (based on various levels of WWTP efficiencies), depending on environmental growing conditions. This represents $11.49-$32.69 per pound of removed nitrogen, a valuable ecosystem service that will expand with subsequent leases as oyster aquaculture expands in Texas. The final research chapter utilized the FARM model to simulate oyster farming under different environmental and cultivation scenarios. Historically, some risks, such as hurricanes, low salinity events, or Vibrio outbreaks, have occurred more often in summer, which may be mitigated by planning seeding and harvest dates to avoid warmer months. Model results indicate that persistent low salinity, such as that found in Copano Bay in 2010, can delay harvests due to poor growth that extends past the simulated 270-day grow-out cycle. Seeding of oysters during periods of moderate temperatures in April resulted in faster growth rates than in January or October. Increasing initial oyster stocking densities from 200 to 250 oysters m-2 resulted in ≤ 1% decrease in oyster length. Triploid oysters grew slightly slower (4-5%) than diploids, based upon 270-day crop cycles. Chlorophyll a did not appear to be a limiting factor for oyster growth, even using a high oyster stocking density scenario of up to 1,000 oysters m-2. Salinity was the most apparent factor influencing oyster growth in scenario modeling; understanding freshwater inflow is among the most critical factors for long-term aquaculture siting. Together, the results from this dissertation can be used to inform policy, understand ecosystem service value, and demonstrate the utility of scenario modeling to evaluate cultivation strategies that mitigate risk with predictable harvests.
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    Exploring the effects of mindfulness-based interventions on resilience and self-efficacy in African American doctoral students: A single case research design
    (2023-12) Newton, Renita L.; Hollenbaugh, K. Michelle Hunnicutt; Ricard, Richard; Ratanavivan, Wannigar; Moore, Peter
    The purpose of this study was to explore the impact of mindfulness-based interventions on resilience and self-efficacy in African American doctoral students. Participants in the study were doctoral students between the ages of 18 and 65 and were enrolled in doctoral programs within the United States. A single-case research design was conducted to explore changes in participant’s use of mindfulness skills and levels of resilience and self-efficacy (N=8) over a 9-week period. Quantitative analyses were performed to explore changes in participants’ levels of resilience, measured by the Brief Resilience Scale and self-efficacy, measured by the General Self-efficacy scale. Additionally, participants' uses of mindfulness skills were measured using the Freiburg Mindfulness Inventory. Analysis of data using the single-case research design showed that 6 weeks of mindfulness-based interventions was effective for enhancing levels of resilience and self-efficacy in African American doctoral students and increasing use of mindfulness skills. Treatment effects ranging from small to large were reported. Quantitative results included statistically significant improvements in participants who completed the study. Results of this study supported the assumption that mindfulness-based interventions are helpful in enhancing levels of resilience and self-efficacy in African American doctoral students, while increasing the overall use of mindfulness skills. Clinical implications and directions for future research are discussed.
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    Texas teacher retention based on principal use of influence tactics
    (2023-12) Perez-Peterson, Vanessa; Benedetti, Christopher; Elliff, D. Scott; Cervantes, Bernadine; Houlihan, Amy
    Due to the continuous decrease in teacher retention rates in the state of Texas, it is important to understand principals’ use of influence tactics and its effects on teacher retention. The purpose of this quantitative, nonexperimental, cross-sectional, descriptive design (Creswell & Creswell, 2018; O’Dwyer & Bernauer, 2013) study was to examine principals’ use of influence tactics on teacher retention, as well as identify differences found in gender and the total number of years within teacher retention rates. The theoretical framework used in this research was Yukle and Falbe’s influence tactic theory. The sample consisted of 50 teachers from five school districts in the greater Corpus Christi, TX area with a 784 zip code. Participants completed four demographic questions, along with the Influence Behavior Questionnaire (IBQ-G). An independent samples t test and one-way ANOVA were used to analyze the data. This study included three research questions. The first research question used an independent samples t test and the following two research questions used a one-way ANOVA. Results did not indicate a statistically significant relationship comparing the mean scores of the 11 influence tactics with teacher gender in the first research question, nor was there a statistically significant relationship in the third research question that focused on the difference in a teacher’s total number of years based on a principal’s use of influence. The second research question compared the principal use of each of the 11 influence tactics from the retention rate at a campus and results showed two influence tactics with significant results.
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    Understanding experiences of faculty from the home institution in China-U.S. transnational education programs: A phenomological case study
    (2023-12) Ping, Hongjie; Banda, Rosa M.; Bazner, Kevin; Elliff, Doyne Scott; Bland, Eugene
    Transnational education (TNE) provides an innovative approach to international education, allowing students to study in one country with a curriculum supplied by an educational institution in another. The TNE program can be delivered in multiple ways, from twinning or franchise programs to joint/double/multiple (JDM) degree programs, co-founded institutions, distance education programs, and even international branch campuses (IBCs). TNE experienced rapid growth worldwide in the early 1990s. As of today, the United States, the United Kingdom, and Australia are the primary providers and source countries for TNE programs worldwide. China, as one of the largest education markets globally, actively engages in TNE, establishing extensive collaborations with global higher education institutions to enhance international education opportunities for Chinese students. Given the growing prominence of TNE, it naturally draws the attention and focus of scholars, educational experts, and policymakers. To delve into this phenomenon, this qualitative study employed a phenomenological case study approach, drawing data from a university in the central United States. The study delves into the experiences and perspectives of a U.S. home institution faculty who are involved in TNE with China. Three participants participated in this study. Analyzing data from one-on-one interviews, participants’ curriculum vitae, and professional development resources, this study uncovered three main themes: (1) embracing passion and expertise in cross-cultural education, (2) valuing, understanding, and recognizing the needs of the cultural context in teaching, and (3) recognizing the cultural cues for necessary adjustments in instructional strategy. The findings indicate that all participants agreed on the valuable experiences of working with students from diverse cultural backgrounds. Moreover, the findings also highlight the synergistic roles of enthusiasm, cultural cognizance, and adaptability in forging efficient, inclusive, and culturally sensitive educational environments. However, administrative challenges within both home and host institutions were a shared concern, indicating potential areas for improvement. These insights are pivotal for TNE leaders in establishing effective mechanisms and specifying strategies to improve the experiences of home institution faculty and host institution students in TNE programs.
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    Principals' work-life balance: Does campus grade level make a difference?
    (2023-12) Ponton, Suzy; Benedetti, Christopher; Bazner, Kevin J.; Cervantes, Bernadine; Lee, Jim
    This quantitative study sought to determine how the work-life balance of Texas principals changes according to the grade levels of their campuses in terms of role balance, role ease, and role overload. The researcher applied the role balance theory to make the complex matter of principals’ work-life balance more understandable. Participants in this research study were given the Role Balance Scale questionnaire, which asked them to report on their self-perceptions of role balance, ease, and overload. An inferential analysis using a one-way ANOVA test was conducted to ascertain whether there was a difference in Texas principals’ work-life balance regarding role balance, ease, and overload based on their campus’s grade levels (elementary, middle, and high school). According to the study’s findings, a principal’s role balance and ease did not change depending on their campus level. The statistical analysis also revealed significant differences between middle school and high school principals in terms of role overload. Based on the findings discussed from this research study, differentiated education, training, and support to develop stable and healthy campus leadership would not be needed to support role balance and role ease. However, to support middle school principals’ high role overload, differentiated strategies would be needed.
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    Perspectives of counseling among a sample of deaf adults
    (2023-12) Sellers, Jennafer LeeAnne; Hunnicutt-Hollenbaugh, Michelle; Oliver, Marvarene; Leeth, Chris; Byus, Kent
    Though members of counseling professions are responsible for maintaining multicultural competency, there is a dearth of research literature to inform culturally-relevant counseling strategies for Deaf adults. This study uses naturalistic inquiry to better understand Deaf perspectives regarding counseling to provide a foundation for multicultural research and practices aimed at serving the Deaf community. Five participants contributed data in interviews which were transcribed, coded, and subjected to constant comparative analysis. As a result, the following five themes emerged from the data: Struggles and Trauma, Importance of Counseling, Barriers to Counseling, Emotional Support Role of the Counselor, and Desirable Counselor Characteristics. Implications for counselors, researchers, and educators are discussed.
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    Assessment of the planetary boundary layer over the Northesatern Pacific Ocean: Impact of ducting and horizontal inhomogeneity on GNSS radio occultation measurements
    (2023-12) Winning Jr., Thomas E.; Xie, Feiqin; Liu, Chuntao; Shinoda, Toshiaki; Starek, Michael; Spaniol, Frank
    In the northeastern Pacific Ocean, strong free tropospheric subsidence and cooler sea surface temperatures due to upwelling result in a distinctive planetary boundary layer (PBL), marked by a sharp temperature inversion and moisture gradient. This distinct subtropical eastern ocean region showcases a unique transition from a shallow stratocumulus-topped PBL near the southern California coast to a deeper trade cumulus PBL regime closer to Hawaii. The shallow PBL coupled with frequent cloudiness poses significant challenges for conventional space-based observations and simulations in weather and climate models. The Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) radio occultation (RO) technique excels in sensing the PBL due to its superior vertical resolution, global coverage, and all-weather observation capability. This dissertation is comprised of three major tasks aimed at assessing the potential and limitation of GNSS RO for PBL sensing over the northeastern Pacific Ocean. First, the RO refractivity data from the first Constellation Observing System for Meteorology, Ionosphere, and Climate (COSMIC-I) for the years 2007 to 2012 were used to derive the PBL height (PBLH) climatology over the Northeastern Pacific Ocean. The PBL in this region is characterized by pronounced temperature inversions and moisture gradients across the PBLH, leading to dominant ducting conditions that introduce significant negative biases in RO refractivity retrievals. Consequently, the second task examines the characteristics of the elevated ducting layer along the transect between Los Angeles, California and Honolulu, Hawaii with high-resolution radiosondes from the MAGIC field campaign and ERA5 global reanalysis data. A systematic negative refractivity bias (N-bias) below the ducting layer is observed throughout the transect, peaking approximately 70 meters below the PBL height (−5.42%), and gradually decreasing towards the surface (−0.5%). Third, the noticeable horizontal inhomogeneity, especially near the PBLH along the transect, may introduce additional RO retrieval errors, warranting further investigation. Using MAGIC radiosonde observations, a 2-dimensional (2D) model of atmospheric refractivity is created which integrates key PBL parameters. An asymmetry index is introduced to measure the extent of horizontal inhomogeneity. Then multiple phase screen (MPS) simulations were carried out to assess the impact of ducting and horizontal inhomogeneity on GNSS RO soundings. Preliminary findings highlight ducting as the primary cause of negative N-bias in RO retrieval, while horizontal inhomogeneity within the PBL contributes an additional −1% near the PBL top. This research enhances understanding of RO data quality within the PBL, paving the way for improved RO data assimilation and advancing weather and climate prediction capabilities.
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    Burnout among all level principals in Texas
    (2023-12) Vela, Enrique; Benedetti, Christopher; Cervantes, Bernadine; Elliff, D. Scott; Kim, Iltai
    This quantitative, descriptive, nonexperimental study employed Maslach’s Burnout Inventory (MBI) to investigate the issue of principal turnover within high-poverty schools in Texas. The research question for this study is, "Is there a difference in a principal's feelings of burnout based on their years of experience?" The researcher used a cross-sectional design to collect data from the population sample of all level school principals in Texas with a wide range of experience levels. The Maslach’s Burnout Inventory was administered to survey participants' feelings of emotional exhaustion, depersonalization, and personal accomplishment. Descriptive statistics were used to assess the burnout levels of principals at different stages of their careers. Although the mean scores suggested that some novice principals may experience higher levels of emotional exhaustion, principals with more experience managed to exhibit lesser levels of depersonalization and personal accomplishment. The findings of the one-way ANOVA and Welch ANOVA determined that there was no statistical significance between feelings of burnout and years of experience. These results hold significant implications for educational practices and leadership development programs.
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    Geospatial monitoring and assessment of coastal land subsidence
    (2023-12) Qiao, Xiaojun; Chu, Tianxing; Tissot, Philippe; King, Scott; Xie, Feiqin; Rao, Mohan
    Subsidence, the downward movement of the land, presents risks in coastal areas such as shoreline erosion and coastal flooding. The accurate estimation of subsidence and the identification of its underlying causes holds significant values for comprehending subsidence processes and guiding decision-making. However, both the subsidence estimation and interpretation are challenging due to its spatio-temporal variability, limited observability, and the complexity caused by natural processes and anthropogenic activities. The contributions of this dissertation were to 1) estimate subsidence at locations of tide gauge (TG) stations along the coastlines; 2) investigate coastal subsidence by integrating measurements from a variety of geodetic techniques such as global navigation satellite systems (GNSS), interferometric synthetic aperture radar (InSAR), TGs, and satellite radar altimtery (SRA); and 3) model subsidence with features related to natural processes and anthropogenic activities and identify potential drivers with machine learning (ML) techniques. These contributions were exemplified through case studies at the Texas Gulf Coast areas. First, two sea-level difference methods, through leveraging TG and SRA measurements, were developed to reconstruct subsidence time series at tide gauge (TG) locations along the Texas coastlines with observation periods exceeding ten years. In addition, synthetic aperture radar (SAR) imagery, continuously operating GNSS (cGNSS) observations, and sea-level measurements were harnessed to estimate the spatio-temporal patterns of subsidence spanning around three decades since the 1990s at the Eagle Point TG station, a prominent hotspot of sea-level rise in the United States. The results obtained from multiple geodetic techniques provided strong and consistent evidence of subsidence processes in the vicinity of Eagle Point. Moreover, a large-scale subsidence map along the Texas coastlines post-2016 was generated with SAR images, revealing that the Texas Gulf Coast experienced an average subsidence rate of -1 mm/yr near the shoreline with an increasing trend in magnitude inland. Attribution analysis indicated that hydrocarbon extraction and groundwater withdrawal were the predominant factors responsible for identified subsidence hotspots in the Texas Gulf Coast. ML demonstrated an impressive performance (with an 𝑅2 of 0.56) in modeling the observed large-scale subsidence, by incorporating a range of features related to natural terrain variations and anthropogenic activities. Explainable artificial intelligence (XAI) methods provided quantitative estimates of feature contributions of the ML model, and the data-driven results revealed that the digital elevation model (DEM) and anthropogenic factors were contributing features in relation to subsidence.
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    Implementing an evidenced-based toolkit for fall prevention in community-dwelling Hispanic elderly
    (2023-08) Hourigan, Claudia; Walker-Smith, Tammy; Andelman, Dixie; Hemmer, Lynn
    Background: One in four elderly falls, frequently resulting in unintentional injuries and death, causing a health concern and a financial burden. This project identified a home health agency (HHA) with a vulnerable population and unmet fall goals. It recognized nurses had fall knowledge deficits, no single fall identification instrument, and lacked evidence-based practice (EBP) resources. Objective: Project aims included: implementing an EBP fall prevention Stop Elderly Accidents, Death, and Injury (STEADI) protocol and minimizing elderly injuries and death in a South Texas HHA. Pre- and post-intervention comparisons were analyzed for employee STEADI tool kit knowledge and patient screening effectiveness in decreasing community-dwelling Hispanic elderly (CDHE) fall rates. Methods: The project employed a Quasi-Experimental with a Quality Improvement Initiative. On day one, the nurses (n=8) STEADI trained. Over three months, they applied the STEADI tool kit on CDHE (n=48). Evaluation and Measurement: Pre-STEADI fall data was the baseline. Quantitative pre-and post-STEADI educational tests, fall data chart review, and feedback surveys were collected and analyzed over three months. Paired sample t-Test compared pre- and post-STEADI scores to reveal a significant difference. Results: All HHA nurses (100%) were STEADI-trained and subsequently screened the CDHE (100%). Post-STEADI, an increase in the nurses' knowledge (36.25, 95% CI) and skills (147.5%, p =.007) occurred, and the CDHE fall rates were reduced (71%, p =.019). Conclusion: Adopting policies and procedures, including STEADI in HHA care, to sustain fall monitoring and screening is recommended as STEADI enhanced nurse organizational support, communication, training, and prudence and decreased CDHE falls.
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    A health literacy education initiative to improve breast cancer knowledge in minority women
    (2023-08) Fitts, Hermelinda; Loika, Elizabeth; McGarity, Tammy; Szczerbinska, Barbara
    Background: Patient education is essential for ensuring compliance with screening mammograms and is a crucial tool for healthcare providers supporting preventative health measures with Breast Cancer Screening (BCS). Purpose: To combat low health literacy related to breast cancer (BC) in primary care settings, a health literacy education initiative was introduced to minority female patients within the ages 40-74. Methods: A pre- and post-design was used to implement an educational initiative, based on the Breast Cancer Health Literacy Assessment Tool (BCLAT), which assesses women’s knowledge regarding prevention, knowledge and screening, and awareness. Results: This Quality Improvement (QI) project’s findings reflect a 6.7% increase in knowledge overall during a three-month period compared to pre-intervention. Of the 26 female participants, 17 (65%) completed their mammogram and 9 (35%) did not have a mammogram done at the end of the 12-weeks. Implications: This QI project proved positive outcomes for increasing breast cancer knowledge through an education initiative and increasing screening mammogram completion rates.
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    Using parental education and text reminders to increase the human Papillomavirus vaccination rate in early adolescents
    (2023-08) Roux, Gloria; Lee, Kyoung; Rayala, Mohan B.; Turner, Jeffrey
    Human papillomavirus (HPV) is the most common sexually transmitted infection (STI) in the United States. HPV is transmitted through direct contact with skin and mucous membranes when having vaginal, anal, or oral sex with an infected person. There are 33,700 new cases of HPV diagnosed annually in the United States, and despite the availability of a safe and effective vaccine for HPV, parents are not vaccinating their adolescents. The current U.S. vaccination rate of adolescents aged 13–15 is 58.6%. The vaccination rate of early adolescents aged 9-11 is only 32.8%, much lower than those aged 13-15. Texas is ranked 31 of 50 states, with 54.9% of adolescents aged 13–17 vaccinated. Parents report declining the vaccine because the vaccine is not required, their children are too young, or their child is not sexually active and, therefore, does not need the vaccine. This quality improvement project aimed to examine the impact of text reminders, parental pre-reading, and individualized education on improving the HPV vaccination rates in early adolescents aged 9–11 at a suburban primary care clinic in a large Texas city. A convenience sample was used to recruit patients as they arrived for their appointments. This project offered parents individualized educational information and opportunities to discuss questions with providers. Over the project’s twelve weeks, seventy-one patients (n = 71) met the inclusion criteria. The number of early adolescents initiating the vaccination series at their visit increased from 17.8% of 135 to 76.1% of 71. The results reveal that combining education and text message reminders increases HPV vaccine initiation effectively. The successful increase of vaccine initiation and completion rates will aid in cancer reduction overall health of our population and assist with reaching the current national goal of having 80% of adolescents vaccinated by 2030.
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    Implementation of a professional governance practice model in an ambulatory care setting
    (2023-08) Rivera, Rosa; McGarity, Tammy; Zhao, Meng; Abraham, Kimberly; Sanos, Sandrine
    The purpose of this quality improvement project with a pre- and post-test design was to determine if the implementation of a professional governance model in an ambulatory setting would improve job satisfaction, nurse engagement and staff perception of professional governance. A project team was formed to create the structure of the model, surveys were utilized to gain baseline knowledge of professional governance, job satisfaction and engagement. To measure the change in culture three aims were considered: improve job satisfaction, improve nurse engagement, and improve staff perception of professional governance. The goal of each aim was to increase by a minimum of ten percent from baseline. Overall, the results of the surveys indicated an increase in job satisfaction, but there are opportunities to continue to increase and improve upon nurse engagement and staff perception of professional governance. Keywords: professional governance, job satisfaction, nurse engagement, perception